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Terps leave Eagles in cold

- The Washington Times - Monday, February 5, 2007

The only thing colder than the weather outside Comcast Center yesterday was the way the Boston College women shot the basketball.

Thanks to one of the worst shooting performances in the ACC this season, fourth-ranked Maryland coasted to a 71-39 victory in front of 10,114. The Eagles missed 49 of their 64 shots for the third-worst shooting performance (23.4 percent) in the ACC this season.

"That's the worst we've shot," Boston College coach Cathy Inglese said. "I felt like we were getting shots. I think we were rushing our shots at one point; we shot a lot quicker than we normally do. We tried to give them confidence by saying, 'If you're open, take the shots.' "

With the win the Terrapins snapped a two-game losing streak. Immediately following the blowout, the Terps (22-3, 6-3 ACC) talked about regaining some of their early season swagger. However, they struggled to protect the ball as they committed 19 turnovers.

In their last three games, the Terps have committed 64 turnovers. Anybody else besides the dreadful shooting Eagles (11-12, 1-8) would have given the Terps fits yesterday.

"I just want to build on this now," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "I feel like this is an area for us to be able to start climbing back up in terms of regaining our confidence and being ready to come out and play for 40 minutes."

These two teams will meet again in the regular season finale Feb. 25 in Chestnut Hill, Mass., in a game that could determine whether the Terps receive a first-round bye in the ACC tournament. The ACC's top four regular-season finishers earn byes for the league's postseason tournament.

With yesterday's win, the Terps are in sole possession of fourth place, a half game ahead of N.C. State (5-3) and Georgia Tech (5-3) in the ACC standings. If Georgia Tech and Maryland finish conference play with identical records, the Yellow Jackets would win the head-to-head tiebreaker courtesy of Georgia Tech's 77-72 victory against the Terps on Thursday in Atlanta.

"I think [the bye] is very important. You know, rest your legs when you can," junior forward Laura Harper said. "Anyone would want the day off."

The second half was Boston College's undoing. The Eagles shot 14.3 percent (5-for-35), including 1-for-10 from behind the 3-point arc. Midway through the second half, the Eagles went through a stretch of 8:14 in which they made only one of 24 shots.

The 39 points were the fewest the Terps have allowed in an ACC game since Feb. 1, 1978, in a 69-38 win against Virginia in the first year of ACC play. On Jan. 28, 1994, Maryland defeated Florida State 81-39. The Eagles' 39 points were their season low.

"We were getting looks that we wanted. Their defense was good, [and] they did some nice things, but you can't shoot 14 percent and expect to be in the game," Inglese said.

Senior guard Shay Doron led the Terps with 15 points and had four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Harper and sophomore forward Marissa Coleman each finished with 11 points. Coleman added nine rebounds and five assists.

"None of us like losing. It's not something any of us are accustomed to," Coleman said. "It's not a feeling we like having."

Maryland didn't take advantage of early foul trouble for Kathrin Ress, Boston College's leading scorer. Ress, who entered yesterday's game as the ACC's No. 3 scorer at 17.2 points a game, played just five minutes in the first half because she had three fouls.

Ress is the Eagles' only player who averages double figures, and with the 6-foot-4 senior on the bench the Terps could have put the contest out of reach by halftime but led only 36-23 at intermission.

Even with Ress, Boston College has struggled offensively this season. The Eagles came into the game averaging just 61.4 points -- 11th in the ACC -- and have won just once on an opponent's homecourt this season.